Review – The Next Level by YoYoJam



When I was a kid, I was pretty much addicted to video games.  The Nintendo NES just came out and I would spend hours at my aunt’s house since she had a Nintendo and I didn’t and I would play Super Mario Brothers over and over again, looking for powerups, secret pipes, and doing anything to make it to the next level.  Eventually I got my own system, the TurboGraphix 16, and then the Sega Genesis.  Overtime I sold, traded and purchased console systems and now as a grown man I have amassed a nostalgic console collection that induces high fives from all grown men who grew up in the Atari and NES era.  This generation wasn’t trained on game Achievements, or unlockable content like todays generation, we were focused on getting to the next level.

Included:

  • Poly String

Specs:

Diameter: 55.76 mm
Width: 42.48 mm
Bearing: C Sized (.250 x .500 x .187 inches)
Weight: 67 grams

Construction and Design:

Looks Great Looks Good Looks not so good
Nickel Plated Brass weight rings Finish hard to see on black anodizing No IRG
Incredible “Diamond Style” finish Standardized C-bearing and response Limited color options
Mirrored Cap Caps get worn quickly

 

YoYoJam and Hiroyuki “Mickey” Suzuki recently parted ways.  Shortly before Mickey left, YoYoJam created the plastic yo-yo called the Chaser.  The response in the yo-yo community was very positive.  Right away Dale started creating a metal version for release.  This metal version would be a bit wider and a slight bigger in diameter.  When Mickey left the team to pursue YoYoAddict, YoYoJam finished initial design on the metal Chaser, and added one of the most incredible finishes I have ever seen on a modern yo-yo.  Now rebranded as the Next Level, the metal chaser has nickel coated brass weight rings on the outer rim, mirror caps, and a bead blast finish that creates a diamond pattern.  The look on the aluminum body is incredible.

Performance:

Great! Not so great…
Smooth play Plays a bit hollow
Grinds very well Felt handicapped by the caps
Fantastic on regens
Snappy response system

 

The Next Level has a fantastic play feel to it.  The weight placement is superb and the yo-yo is very responsive to directional changes.  I found the Next Level performing very well on regens and transitions between both large and tight movements.  Grinds on the new diamond finish were amazing.  I wish the catch zone were just a bit more open for greater interaction with the new finish.

All the great play aside, I think that what holds this yo-yo back is the caps.  I dig the look of mirror caps.  They catch the light and draw the eye, but yo-yo cups are becoming more and more part of yo-yo play.  If YoYoJam had masked off the cup during anodization and polished it reflective, I think it would have had the same effect that they were going for.  As it is, the cap blocks the inner ring groove, and the hub for finger spins tricks.  I also know that over time, if history is any measure, the caps will get loose giving me unfavorable play. I also wish that the Next Level was available in more than Black and Blue. There is a 24k Gold version that will be at the YoYoExpert booth at Worlds next weekend, but I would love to see this finish on pink, green, red, or purple.

 

Final Thoughts:

I love YoYoJam.  They are extremely consistent with the quality and artistic designs but I feel that their reliance on side caps is reducing the “Buy it Now” factor all yo-yoers face when looking at available yo-yos on the market.  The yo-yo play style has evolved and yo-yos with functional sides are becoming more and more popular.   I think what needs to happen is for YoYoJam to leave the side cap choice up to the player.  I don’t want to remove my mirror caps because I don’t know how the yo-yo will play without them.  Dropping 2 grams can be unpredictable and I honestly don’t want to damage the caps in case I change my mind.  Now if the caps were delivered loose in the box upon purchase, that would be ideal.

Bottom line – The Next Level has an incredible finish inside the catch zone and delivers impressive play, but is held back by a capped off side cup.

 

~ $125

Written by Chris “Dr. Yo-Yo” Allen who going to try out for the Summer Olympics once they create an Artistic Eating division
– Pictures in the background are of my family members over the last century



About

Chris "Dr. Yo-Yo" Allen is the creator and founder of YoYoSkills.com. He has been yoyoing for over 25 years and has a passion for the industry.


'Review – The Next Level by YoYoJam' have 10 comments

  1. August 2, 2012 @ 3:55 am Grais

    The caps take what is an awesomely machined and finsihed yoyo, and make it look like one of their cheaper BiMetals.
    They are also cheap and cheesy, just the material, chromed plastic, the chrome is so 80’s, its been over 30 years time to move on Dale.
    Drop the caps on the aluminum yoyos, not only do they look like shit, they are a deciding factor to not buy the yoyo, think about that.
    The Trident is one of the prettiest yoyos YYJ makes, the Eneme, same, no caps.
    Why would you want to hide that pretty aluminum. Especially now.

    Reply

  2. August 1, 2012 @ 6:59 pm Mo

    Come.on Kuya, don’t be shy. Tell.us what you really think about the caps. You don’t have to be nice and just say you don’t care for them. It’s OK if you spin out and say ‘hideous or Exxxxxxxxreeeeeemely UGLY’., Be bold and spit it out.

    Reply

  3. August 1, 2012 @ 2:34 am kuyaChristian

    To be honest, after Mickey left YYJ all the new cap designs on his former signature models look extremely ugly and hideous. Especially the PHENOM and the Next Level too. I mean, I could tell that if Mickey had stayed in YYJ by the time the general release of the Next Level came out it’d still be named as such but with a much better looking cap design.

    Reply

  4. July 31, 2012 @ 3:20 pm Thedeadyo

    I never really liked the way the caps looked on my Next Level. I was pleasantly surprised with the engraving around the hub on it and think they look amazing. I will say that personally, the yoyo plays amazingly better with the caps off. After I took them off, I threw them away and havent looked back!

    Great review as always!

    Reply

  5. July 31, 2012 @ 12:26 am kuyaChristian

    It’s all good, Chris :]. Your reviews are always clean. I want to try the Next Level so much but I also want to wait for the 24K version [basically the Metal Chaser sold at YoYoAddict shortly after he left YYJ] ’cause I’m a bit of a Mickey stan. I feel the same with the caps though…it gives the feel that it’s cheap.

    …but to be frank, the inner laser engravings they have on the guts [if caps taken off] of their metal yoyos look ridiculously hideous. So I have no choice but to keep the caps on.

    Reply

  6. July 30, 2012 @ 1:00 am theTopo

    Have to agree about the caps. I think they come off as being cheap and are much less durable than the rest of the yo-yo. I know it’s part of their look, but I think YYJ should move on and drop the caps altogether.

    Reply

  7. July 29, 2012 @ 11:34 pm kuyaChristian

    *Hiroyuki, not Hirozuki :]

    Reply

  8. July 29, 2012 @ 8:47 pm Yuki

    Might want to fix up that table in ‘Construction and Design’. Unless of course, YYJ have mastered the art of constructing invisible matador spikes which would be pretty damn awesome.

    Reply

    • July 29, 2012 @ 8:55 pm Dr. Yo-Yo

      YUP! thanks, That was left over from the review template.

      Reply


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